tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 21, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
kingdom of of heaven. jesus said they were the greatest in the kingdom. well, in keller, that family would have to be able to afford his school bus fare. tom jonyer will be on the show with me tomorrow. thanks for watching. "hardball" starts right now. >> good evening p.m. i'm in for chris matthews tonight. leading off, deal or no deal. all day long there's been word
that a deal between president obama and speaker john boehner is in the works to save the u.s. from default. publically both sides are denying it. it's clear adults on both sides are trying to avoid default. how do you get to an agreement? tea partiers are saying, no deal with tax increases and democrats are saying, no deal without them? we crunched numbers and default would seem to affect almost every american home. also, does michele bachmann have migraines? is it fair to question her fitness? or she fb may be debilitated for days at moment of the week when rupert murdoch's wife wendi supposedly saved him from a pie throwing comedian. call me skeptical but i'm calling it piegate. we start with deal or no deal. the "new york times" reported
this afternoon, the obama administration has informed democratic congressional leaders that president obama and speaker boehner were about to close in on a major deal that would enact substantial spending cuts and seek future revenues through -- congress that an agreement between the president and mr. boehner could be imminent. but white house spokesman jay carney was quick to knock down the story. let's listen. >> the breaking news reports you all have probably received is incorrect. there is no deal. we are not close to a deal. we are obviously -- the president is in discussions with all the leaders of congress, as well as other members, and exploring the possibility of getting the biggest deal possible, which is the position he has held for a long time now, as you know. the fact is that there is no progress to report, but we
continue to work on getting the most significant deficit reduction package possible. >> now, likewise, speaker boehner's spokesman put out a statement saying, while we're keeping the lines of communication open, there is no deal arohe cut, cap and balance bill that passed with bipartisan support and hope the senate will take it up as soon as possible. steve israel of new york is the chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee. surely he will know. congressman is there a deal that's imminent? >> well, there's no deal, because we're having a hard time negotiating with one side. look, you've got -- i like what you said, michael, there are adults who understand we cannot default, and you have got the gang of six in the senate that is seeking a compromise. mcconnell's seeking a compromise. house democrats of seeking a common sense compromise. the president seeking a common sense compromise, and then you've got this small group that is absolutely isolated, about 60
republicans in the house who have already signed a letter saying, under no circumstances will they vote for an increase in the debt limit, no matter what is in it. they are isolated by themselves, obstructionists. you cannot get to a deal unless you have some somebody to make a deal with and right now these extremist republicans will not even get into a room and negotiate. >> congressman, one of the reports out today says there was a $3 trillion proposal in the works that would be all cuts and no revenue enhancements. meaning no new taxes. is there any truth to that rumor? >> you know, there are a variety of options circulating. and house democrats agree with the president that at the end of the day, here's what we need. we need a balanced package. you cannot tax your way out of debt. can't cut your way out of debt. you need to grow your way out of debt. a balanced package that fairly increases revenues on people making over $1 million that does involve spending cuts and promotes growth that doesn't hurt the middle class. that's what we're insisting on and cannot balance the budget on the backs of seniors and
veterans. if we can get that without hurting middle class, ending medicare and reasonable taxes on the wealthiest we canny void this default. >> relative to increases, would an explanation of the bush tax cuts themselves be sufficient in your view to fit that piece of the puzzle? >> if you do not extended bush tax cuts, just for people making over $1 million that creates very significant revenue. extending the bush tax cuts, puts $700 billion on the table. democrats have said that should be part of the deal. we're also willing to discuss common sense spending cuts, but at the end of the day, michael, it's unfair to ask somebody in my district, in rhode island, to bear the brunt of this. they might want to send their kids to college. give up pell grants and don't send your kids to college.
if you're making over $1 million, you get your tax cut. that's not a deal we could support. >> my question, couldn't the gop declare victory and go home if there were no revenue increases beyond allowing the bush tax cuts to expire? apparently giving a green light by grover norquist? >> he's back pedaled from what he said just this morning. a sense of how much disarray they're in. them tell us one thing and then do another. grover norquist said what you suggested and with hours he debated himself. grover norquist can't even agree with himself. how can these republicans come to an agreement with us? >> what i'm taking away from you is that the sell is all on the gop side of the aisle, and i'm interpreting you have your ducks in a row? is that a fair statement? >> we've said from day one we will produce the votes necessary to pass an extension of the debt ceiling so long as it is balanced, doesn't hurt seniors
on medicare, doesn't hurt the middle class, and involved the right balance of revenue adjustment and spending cuts. and we will provide those votes along those lines. and the american people are with us. look at every single poll it says the same thing. republican, democrat, independents agree with our balanced approach. >> i was going to say according to the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll 58% support the president's plan. which includes spending and medicare and increase for tax on wealthy. 36% side with republicans in congress, and their proposal with just cuts to spending and no increase in taxes. and i sense, my day job is one of being talk radio host. i sense a shift just in the last three weeks as more people have come to the recognition that if there's skin in the game from all, it's going to be a salable package. final word from you? >> skin in the game for all is exactly what we have called for. protecting and defending tax loopholes for millionaires and big corporations is what republicans have called for.
they need to meet us somewhere. >> thank you, congressman steve israel. >> thank you. joining me now, "washington post's" chris, author of "the fix". a managing editor also. let's visit this grover norquist issue. i think on tuesday in an interview with your "washington post" editorial board, grover norquist, the man famous for his anti-tax pledge, said that not renewing the bush tax cuts would not violate his pledge. listen to some of that audio released. >> not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase. >> stow does not violate the pledge. >> we wouldn't hold it that way. it would be a very bad thing to do. it would raise taxes from where they are today. >> who don't follow the inside baseball the way you and i eat, drink and sleep it. what is the significance of grover norquist saying that?
>> for people who don't know, grover norquist since 1985 has run a group called americans for tax reform pap d.c.-based group that does a lot of thing. basically, to hold the line on no tax increases for republicans. every time someone runs for office, grover and his group get them to sign a pledge essentially saying they will not raise taxes or revenue increases at all. the result of that is, it's been a rite of passage. hard to win a republican primary for house senate, if you don't sign the pledge. your opponent makes an issue out of it. the end game, 240 members of congress, the vast majority, about 95% republican, who have signed it saying we will never vote to increase taxes, or revenue. it's hard to make a deal. look, this is a problem john boehner's running into. hard to make a deal with that number of people on record saying they won't do it. >> it turns this bush tax cut extension into, depends on the definition of "is."
one more thing. today on msnbc, grover backtracked, in an interview with chris jansing from this morning. >> -- wouldn't pass the last test to go to the american people and tell them you just allowed $4 trillion in higher taxes by allowing the 2001, 2003 lower rates to last and tell people that's not a tax increase. it clearly would be a dramatic increase on taxes. so i can be clear. americans for tax reform would oppose any effort to weaken, reduce or not continue the 2001-2003 push tax cuts and, in fact, any changes of taxes should be kept separate from the budget deal. >> okay. so, chris, if i'm a gop member of the house, a freshman with tea party support, what am i able to do to not incur the wrath of grover norquist? how can i vote on this? >> the question, trying to distinction with a difference or without a difference.
it seem hess said not allowing the bush tax is not technically a violation of the pledge. meaning they couldn't be attacked in a republican primary, for example, of breaking their pledge on taxes. what he said to chris jansing today is, this is bad. we don't think it should happen and americans for no taxes as group doesn't support it. it have a gray area? is not supporting it, same as being in violation of the pledge? that's what i think a lot of republican members are worried about, because, look, we know how campaigns work. go back -- george h.w. bush, read my lips. no new taxes. we know how that turned out. even governors, i'll throw in, worry falling victim to that same thing, and that's why grover norquist retains the amount of power he does over the house republican party. >> reading the tea leaves from a distance, seems to me boehner is more inclined to strike a deal
than eric cantor. what's the dynamic as you see it now between the two of them? >> they insist publicly and their aides generally insist privately there is no space. but, michael, you and i both get paid to pay attention to this stuff, on a minute grain or basis, if you look at it, it certainly seems like john bane boehner wants to do something big. whether he thinks it's important for the country, whether he thinks it's important for his speakership, or just the right thing to do. he seems more incline dod do that. eric cantor has more held back tea party line that there cannot be tax revenue increases. it's just going to be hard. it doesn't mean a deal can't happen if there are no revenue tax increases but i will tell you, you just heard steve israel, nancy pelosi, chuck schumer, harry reid, they're going to howl if there is a deal made in which there are spending cuts in which medicare or social security comes in for cuts and
there are no significant tax or revenue -- meaning, barack obama, not good if you're a democrat running for the house or senate. >> when you say no significant tax increases, you're talking something beyond the expiration of the bush tax cuts? >> i think so. you know -- what's hard about this. >> now you're grover norquist hedging. >> i'm a reporter. i live in the gray area. >> thank you for being here. coming up, what happens if the country goes into default? tea partiers want you to believe it wouldn't be a big deal, that the president's crying wolf, but the reality is much different, and that lies just ahead. you're watching "hardball." only on msnbc.
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we have to write 80 million checks a month. medicare, medicaid, benefits. am knew nation for troops fighting wars outside of the united states. there's no plausible way to run a country in a situation for an extended period of time. we're not paying our obligations. it's not feasible. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was treasury secretary tim geithner on cnbc monday sounding the alarm bell that this country could be in trouble if the debt ceiling is not raised by the august 2nd deadline. here to talk about what that
means for americans is christian friedman an undersecretary of the treasury under the first president george bush. here to talk about what that means is krista and jay pal, former undersecretary of the treasury mr. president george w. bush. mr. secretary, i tend to be a knuckle head. so dumb it down for me. what are the steps tro transpire if they can't hit a cord. >> there will not be enough cash it pay the bills and they will have to leave approximate live half of our nondebt related bills unpaid. we believe the debt, of course, will be paid. we don't think there will be a bond default but many, many benefit payment checks and all kinds of payment won't be made because there won't be enough cash. >> behind closed doors right now, some prioritization is presumably being done so there is a plan to know who gets paid
and who doesn't get paid? >> that's an issue. everyone assumes the administration will pick the winners and losers. they may decide they don't have the authority to do that and will have the authority to decide what to do. >> in the dooms day scenario we have been told the first step is the u.s. what does that mean? >> well, the rating put a rating on us. s and p, one of the big three rating agencies say they are likely to downgrade us if we don't come up with a huge deficit package, which doesn't seem that likely right now. there aren't any obvious and tremendous near term consequences. it is a bad thing. it is a harveinger of things to come if that happens.
i think jay portrayed what would happen. if it defaulted on the domestic obligations i think there would be a downgrade of u.s. debt. it has been the gold standard for the entire financial system and i think some of the consequences would be first of all, the entire financial system, mutual funds, banks, is based on the basis of u.s. treasuries being the equivalent of you know, the very best credit you could have. if that stops being the case, you start having these financial institutions having to do crazy things to their portfolios. >> would not another step be that cost of borrowing would then go up?
i'm also trying to understand what this means to someone like me, just a random person trying to sort it out at home. >> for you as a random person, if you have the system starting to be knocked into disarray then you have a leem yn type situation. a lehman type situation. jay talked about this in a great piece he published today where he talked about the other big thing that has it happen in august is that the u.s. has to roll over a lot of its debt. the question is, would the borrowing cost go up? would creditors be willing to lend money to the u.s. government knowing that it's not paying all of its obligations? the answer is, probably yes. but probably at a higher cost. and again, the consequences for the entire financial system, not just in the u.s. but in the whole global economy are really unpredictable. i do think that looking back to what happened on lehman and the financial crisis and global recession that that caused, it is not extreme. tes,
presumably they would go up in the doomsday scenario? >> yes, i think kristy said it demand goes down, rates go up and that could play out at a consumer rates, mortgage rates, that sort of thing. by add, in the instance of default, i don't think you are looking at lehman. the chaos in the economy, it'll be in people who weren't getting payments and really significant negative shock to the economy rather than in the markets. >> the other thing, if i could add there, jay, is what we don't know is the unknown unknowns. so you know, there are so many dominos in the world economy that be connected to u.s. treasuries and that are built around a triple a rating for u.s. treasuries with. we can't predict what link there will be in the global chain that would break in the u.s. defaults. >> should someone at home watching itself play itself out,
news of reports going on behind closed doors, whether the government preparing, whether rating folks preparing, whether wall street preparing, what about a typical american? is there any level of preparation they should be taking or is this completely out of their hands? jay, you start, then chrystia, you follow up. >> nothing comes to mind. the issue is, if you're a beneficiary then you may get your benefits late. they will be paid but maybe a few days late. and i think there is still a roll hope. i talk to people a lot op the hill. i think there is time to get this done in the debt ceiling in one form or the other. >> should people take money out of their mattress? >> i can tell what you the smart people on wall street are doing. >> tell me. >> people are moving into cash and other currencies they think are more credit-worthy. pemco says he has a lost faith in the comedian dollar, for example. >> are the states going to get
wacked with a trim el down effect from all of this? >> yes. if it happens for any period of time, rates will go up and that will effect the states significantly pt. the federal government couldn't pay a lot of things and one big thing that may get cut is medicaid. they may be a victim of the spending cuts that happen in august if we don't raise the debt ceiling. >> did you ever think that on your watch or while you paid attention in the bush years, that there would be such a debate about raising the debt ceiling. >> so i had the job in '90 to '93 under bush senior. ed with debt ceiling fights but nothing like this. they are private behind the scenes hair pulling. principally my hair being pulled. there were escalating ep oeds of this and getting worse all the time, this has the ear marks of the worst one so far. >> thank you so much. appreciate your being here. >> pleasure. >> thank you. >> up next, we heart the debt
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welcome back to "hardball." now for the "sideshow." first up, what's with all the analogy? as the deadline to reach a deal on the debt ceiling gets closer, president obama offered comparisons to ripping off the band-aids and talking turkey. speaker boehner compared the whole situation with dealing with jell-o. yesterday press secretary jay carney tried a new one. let's listen. >> we need to -- need to talk, consult, narrow down what our options are and figure out in fairly short order, you know, which train we're riding into the station. right now there are multiple trains heading towards the station.
several trains have left the station. it's a decision about which train we'll be riding when we get to the next station? >> the food analogies just weren't working out. next, former campaign manager david plouffe is caught dishing out words of wisdom to the other side. nick heirs for pawlenty recounts what happened when they crossed paths recently. let's listen. >> the most real assessment of what i would be dealing with came from david plouffe who pulled me aside at the white house correspondents' dinner and said i want to congratulate you on your job. did a good job in 2010. i can't wish you the best cut can tell what you the next year or two of your life would be like. okay. what's that? a lot of people will tell you you're going to have a blast. he said, they're all lying to you. this is going to be the worst year of your life. >> i guess he's glad he handed off the ropes to somebody else for this campaign. finally, julianne moore will star as s&p in "game change" about the election campaign
claims she'd had a hard time masters palin's alaskan accent. her solution, delete all her songs from her ipod. >> i erased all music. don't want it on there. >> just wall to wall palin speeches? >> exactly. >> if that doesn't work, there's always tina fey. up next, michele bachmann's migraines. is it fair to question harry fitness to the president, or is this something we would never have mentioned about male candidate? that's ahead, and you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] you have all this chicken. time to mix it up with new philly cooking creme. it'll make your chicken creamier, dreamier, with lots of flavor. spread the love in four fabulous flavors. spoon in a little new philly cooking creme.
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new revenues promising to vietnam why any deals that contain only cuts. they will announce tomorrow that secretary of defense and all of the joint chiefs officially signed off on repealing don't ask don't tell. the hacking group anonymous claims to have stolen security data from nato. it has not yet responded to that allegation. an investigation resulted in the arrest of nearly 2,000 people to the notorious la fa milla drug tar kel in mexico and the u.s. a bargaining agreement is still a proposal for the nfl. now back it "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." congresswoman michele bachmann is back in the headlines after it was reported earlier this week she suffers from migraine headaches, which at times incapacitate her for days. is this a valid campaign issue
or an instance of sexism? joining u.s. to talk more about that and a nasty feud between debbie wasserman schultz and congressman allen west, ing a ex wagner and clarence page of the chicago tribune. clarence, i'm trying to think of the analogous situation historically speaking for when the health of someone running for president has been questioned, and i can't quite find it. you know, it's not exactly tom eagleton. a far more extreme set of circumstances. it doesn't feel quite like questions about ronald reagan's age, either. how do you see this in a historical context? >> as long as it's not as questionable as tom eagleton, because he was -- it was revealed he had taken shock treatments for depression, and in those days, that was very scary to many people. the public didn't understand it, and that really resulted in his dropping out of the race. dropping off the ticket. with michele bachmann, i think
all of us have somebody in the family, if not ourselves who suffer from migraine, but that can work for or against her, because many times people will have debilitating migraines that can be so severe they can't work, and questions will be raised as to whether she can handle the job just physiologically. i don't think it's fair. i think -- it is something she's going to have to campaign against. >> alex, to clarence's point, yesterday i solicited calls only from those who suffered from migraines and asked how much of an issue do you think this is? the they feel lines melted down but they were divided. some said i have them, someone in my family has them and they are debilitating and it's an issue. others said i have them, but she can deal with it. legitimate is this? >> it is legitimate. different than say roosevelt living with paralysis. neurological condition. one of the things not serving
michele bachmann well is that she isn't being forthcoming with information. we're left to rely on accounts of former staffers who say she's miss add series of votes. out for weeks and days at a time. really curbing her ability to serve as an elected member of congress. the presidency, we've done a great job of den denigrating the importance it. she is the person picking up the red phone in the middle of the night. there is legitimate concern about her ability to serve if she were to be elected, and neurological conditions, there's a lot of mystery around them and sometimes unduly so. in this case, i think being more transparent about it would be -- behoove her. >> on the issue how this get handled politically, clarence, yesterday in iowa, tim pawlenty had this to say about michele bachmann's migraines. >> i don't know enough about her particular medical situation to comment. i just don't have enough facts on that and certainly would defer to the judgment of the medical professional.
but setting that aside, all the candidates i think are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time. all of the job all of the time and on fox news walked it back slightly. here it is. >> i think it's mostly a side show. i've observed congresswoman bachmann, never seen her have a medical condition or impairment that would seem to be a concern. >> it's not something raised by political opponents -- well, exterior political opponents -- and not by the media. these are former staffers who brought this up, and i'm wondering if that somehow legitimizes it, clarence? >> well, whoever brings it up, it is a legitimate issue. it is one that people would naturally be concerned about. i'm thinking about john kennedy. we have learned that he was doped up most of the time he was president. but the word didn't get out nap was different day. nowadays you can't keep secrets like you used to be able to. so i think, pawlenty's second
response was smarter than the first. put it that way. other candidates are wise just to stand back and not even give a hint of trying to get some political advantage out of this. >> alex, i don't know that we know the full story of brian ross? i thought by now that video would have gained circulation. >> holding on to that to release it when the rating -- the idea there was a physical kerfuffle, is that the word? i don't know. >> kerfuffle. >> a kerfuffle. you know, sharon angell, pursued by the press, not wanting to deal with it and if not physically putting a reporter in his place. you know, again i don't think this is the tactic you want to use. she should not be on the defensive about this. this is something i think she wants to get ahead of the media cycle. >> the letter from the attending physician of congress, which the
bachmann campaign released in response to the charges. you are overall in good general health. your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid. you have note needed medical attention for me regarding migraines with use of the above what caused me to think this was an issue when i found she had three different occasions that were sufficient to put her on her back, so to speak. which necessitated medical treatment. despite what that physician is saying, seems it has been a real issue? >> seems like that and, you know, like alex was saying, this can be scary to people wondering what happens in some critical time when we need the president to make a decision and that kind of red telephone scenario is something they've got to deal with, but all candidates have to deal with it. i have a feeling if she doesn't get the nomination or if she gets the nomination and doesn't get elected i think it's going to be for reasons other than that migraines.
>> some saying sexism for michele bachmann and this one involves congressman allan west and debbie wasserman schultz. you know the background on this by now. is sexism an appropriate charge in this case? i amean i -- i mean, allen west i think took it there calling into question debbie wasserman schultz' ladyship but it bears basically nothing on the argument. from what i understand, wasserman schultz remarks were partisan ted for tat over or the republican position on entitle reform, and the way he volleyed back, accusing her of being a vile member of congress, it seemed really unnecessary, and if we're talking about the general tenor in congress, the last thing we need is people ratcheting up the rhetoric. >> an excerpt of congressman allen west's e-mail to debbie wasserman schultz which set off the war of words.
between these two members of congress. the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the u.s. house of representatives. if you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, and otherwise, shut the heck up. my view, in the draft, not that word placed there. doesn't it speak to the whole instability that's become so part and parcel of what goes on in partisan politics? >> the other party, too. the rsnds and the tea party and allen west is a hero of that movement. beloved because he is so outspoken and so brash and got that manner of an army officer who's not accustomed to being confronted. even verbally. and this is -- we've become co-dependent. the system made us all co-dependent of this kind of behavior. "the washington post" spoke recently about money blurts. every time certain politicians say something outrageous like
this they get a million dollars or two in the mail the next day? >> joe wilson was rewarded for saying, you lie. >> it was the same kind of a scenario. >> right. >> that's another problem with what we've got. >> exactly. >> michele bachmann too. >> i was going to say, allen west is someone who's built his city on this kind of inflammatory rhetoric. look back a host of videos to watch on youtube. he has no problems making outrageous statements how smirk at war with islam. questioning the genetic capabilities of people who are obama supporters. i mean, just out there on this. on a certain level it's not surprising. it's part and parcel of who he is. >> unfortunately, i think it sums up where we are. thank you clarence page and alex wagner. appreciate you being here. >> thank you. up next, how can an al qaeda terrorist in afghanistan, a triple agent, if you will, manage to infiltrate the cia and kill seven operatives?
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welcome back to "hardball." it's been more than two months since u.s. special forces shot and killed osama bin laden. in the wake of that success, it's easy to forget the long, hard road to get there. back in debt of 2009, the cia thought he had the ultimate double agent who would lead them to the top echelon of al qaeda but turn out to be a triple agent, buried so deeply into the cia when he detonated the bomb he was wearing he killed seven cia agents as well as himself. "washington post" national correspondent jody warrick writes an that and how the cia was duped in his new book calmed "the triple threat: the al qaeda mole who infiltrated the cia." it's terrific and glad you wrote it. reads like a summer spy novel. sad thing it really happened. >> i don't think hollywood could have scripted a character with an unlikely journey.
a plain doctor working in a refugee clinic two years ago. he had this dangerous hobby on the side. a blogger for jihadists, take up arms against the west and do dangerous things. in a very short period ended up being discovered, arrested, interrogated and flipped, we saw, into becoming an asset for the west. next thing we know, in pakistan helping with bomb strikes. >> his initial reports are accurate? he's talking, as you say, about damage done by the drones. then he sends a piece of video that shows him in the company of a top al qaeda. somebody we've been looking for for a long time, and then the mother load of information. he claims he's now rendered medical services to ayman al zawahiri. correct? >> how clever he was, weaving in between two worlds, the cia and al qaeda and convincing everyone
he's on their side. but ultimately, as we discover later, he's actually on al qaeda's side in this elaborate plot, an incredible lure was set up by al qaeda using their own video equipment and knowledge it was set up by al qaeda, using their own video equipment and their own knowledge of how the cia works to create something so attractive that the cia could not possibly say no to it. >> the reason that the cia found him credible, although through the jordanians, and he knew the medical history of zawahiri, and it matched the information we from his egyptian files. and now the objective becomes, let's bring him in. we americans need to set eyes on him and allow him to lead us to the al qaeda leadership. and that's where things got lax. >> exactly. remarkably, and if you think about this, we are getting this incredible evidence. this is the most exciting thing that's happened in the search for bin laden and his deputies since 9/11. and yet it occurs to everyone, we've never even met this guy. how do we know -- he could be a con artist. there are doubts and questions
raised. but it becomes imperative to meet with him. they have to get him to a place where they can look at him, look him in the eye and decide if he's real or not. so this decision was made to set up a meeting, bring the guy into this secret cia base, and confront him and see what he was all about. >> and when he comes to the base in coast, he is waved through three security checkpoints at this uber secret location. and when he gets out of the car, he detonates the vest and kills seven members of the cia. >> the great irony of all of this is lots of planning and preparation went into keeping this guy safe, making sure he wasn't discovered on the way in, making sure no taliban soldiers saw him so he could be outed to the taliban. and instead, his intent all along was to kill people. so he seemed too good to be true in some ways, and in fact he really was. >> joby, i always wondered in the interim between the events of september 11 or tora bora, the battle of december of '01 and the takedown in abadabad,
did we have a line on zawahiri or bin laden? the answer is we didn't. and you're the expert from this book. but it was the coldness of that trail that allowed our guard to be dropped, because we were so desperate for all the right with reasons to get either of them, that we wanted to believe this guy was legitimate. >> yes. and if you think about it, there are many people that claim that, oh, yes, we know where sooild is hiding. the fact is his trail had gone ice-cold. had been so for years. and this was a real opportunity, it seemed, to get very close to him or at least to his deputy, perhaps days away from a really important strike. so yes, everybody was excited. and the excitement not all the way to the white house. and there was as we look back quite a rush to meet this guy and see what he had to say. >> the book is titled "the triple agent." he started out blogging as a hater of all things western and wanting, you know, blood on his own hands of us.
comes over to our side, or so we think, ends up back on their side. here is my question for joby warrick. was this all with malice aforethought? did this man always know, as he was blogging, what he was seeking to do was suck us up in to play this triple routine? >> i think the most important clues to that come from the man's own writing. when he was writing on the internet as a secret pundit for al qaeda before his arrest, he was beginning to say things like, when will my words taste my blood? when am i going to take action myself? he was looking for ways to become more active, to become more involved. he thought about going to iraq and becoming a soldier. he was too puny to do that. when he was arrested and offered to become an informant for our side, it's clear now in hindsight that all along he planned to do some damage to the west in any way he could. maybe not as a suicide bomber, but intending to strike as hard and as often as he possibly could. in that side, i think he was a triple agent from the beginning.
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allow me to share a lingering thought about what happened in the uk with the tuesday testimony of rupert and james murdoch. i'm a bit of a cynic. i think oswald killed kennedy and acted alone. i abhor those that float the notion that 9/11 was an inside job. and i lamented the closing of a chapter today in our space program because i know man has walked on the moon. having said this, i'm having some doubts about the heroic efforts of rupert murdoch's wife to thwart the pie thrower. think about it. the whole hearing concerned media manipulation. parliamentaryians were gathered to learn what the murdochs knew about the hacking and when they knew it. and the testimony didn't go so well. they apologized repeatedly but steadfastly refused to take the blame. the story making the most news is the pie, and the woman who stopped its delivery. instead of questions about the voracity of the murdochs' testimony, there's chatter about how a man approached murdoch
with a pie and have murdoch's wife lunge towards the attacker and thwart the attempt to harm her husband. i keep seeing headlines like don't mess with wendi deng. so what should have been a port mortem analysis of the testimony of two media moguls has now been obscured by laud tory coverage of mrs. murdoch. and what do we know of the pie thrower? his name is johnny marbles. i may have lost mine, but come on. this activist and comedian whose real name is jonathan maybells was somehow able to avoid security with his pie and get within inches of murdoch. let me remind you that "news of the world" once set up formula one president max mosely with prostitutes on their payroll, leading to that unforgettable headline f-1 boss his sick nazi orgy with five hookers. what's a foam pie compared to five prostitutes with